The Canadian government along with political officials from Prince Edward Island (PEI) announced a $50 million investment in the BioAccelerator. A spokesperson for PEI called it the largest single investment in economic development infrastructure in PEI history.
Led by the PEI BioAlliance, the BioAccelerator is a new 75,000 ft2 biomanufacturing facility located in the BioCommons Research Park in Charlottetown. It will enable Canadian bioscience companies to carry out research and new product development, process development, manufacturing scaleup, as well as provide access to biopharmaceutical manufacturing skills and training, according to Rory Francis, CEO, PEI BioAlliance.
The BioAccelerator will provide capacity and expertise to support fermentation and downstream bioprocessing in areas of biologics, probiotics, natural product chemistry-derived products, and animal and fish health products, noted Francis, who added that these are areas where capacity is extremely limited in North America and especially in Canada.
The PEI bioscience sector reportedly has quadrupled in size since 2012 to include over 65 bioscience companies earning over $600 million per year in sales, making the sector one of the top three industry contributors to the provincial economy. The PEI bioscience cluster has surpassed 2025 growth targets and is well on its way to becoming a billion-dollar industry by 2030, point out PEI officials.
Tenants in the BioAccelerator will include early-stage companies, small, and medium size enterprises from Atlantic Canada, across Canada, and from international locations. It will also include the facilities and expertise of the National Research Council of Canada’s fermentation labs as well as from CASTL (Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences), all intended to provide hands-on biopharmaceutical manufacturing training. The BioAccelerator will be CASTL’s national headquarters and expanded lead training facility.
Important economic driver
The bioeconomy is an important economic driver for Atlantic Canada, and critical to PEI’s economic diversification, said a PEI official. The Atlantic sector consists of approximately 900 organizations, including commercial businesses, hospital and university research institutions, and employed 10,800 people in 2019. The private sector alone employs approximately 5,500 people in a diverse range of companies, from start-ups to multinationals.
“The BioAccelerator [which is expected to be completed in fall 2025] will create a unique space for bioscience businesses to flourish, accelerating new product development and commercialization to advance solutions that can improve health and food security,” said Oliver Technow, board chair, PEI BioAlliance, and CEO, BIOVECTRA, a local CDMO. “This investment positions Atlantic Canada as a leading force in Canada’s bio-revolution.”